Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (大乱闘スマッシュブラザーズ SPECIAL Dai rantō Sumasshu Burazāzu Supesharu?) is the fifth installment in the Super Smash Bros. fighting game series, developed by Bandai Namco Studios and Sora Ltd. and published by Nintendo. It was released on 7 December 2018 for the Nintendo Switch.
The first teaser for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate appeared during a Nintendo Direct on 8 March 2018. Back then, it was only known by the title Super Smash Bros.. It was formally announced during Nintendo's Nintendo Direct presentation at E3 2018.
Responsible for the development of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate are Bandai Namco Studios and Sora Ltd., who were behind the development of Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, with Masahiro Sakurai serving as the director. The intention of Sakurai's for Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was to include every possible character from previous Super Smash Bros. games, which he knew would be both a complex problem for both development and licensing. He also intended to speed up the game by adjusting the characters' abilities. Sakurai knew that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was both a core title for Nintendo, and that it has a dedicated playerbase that he did not want to disappoint, and believed that he needed to complete these goals to satisfy both groups.
Inclusion of Sonic the Hedgehog
On 12 June 2018, it was announced on the E3 Nintendo Direct that every single playable character from the past four games would return. Among them is Sonic the Hedgehog, marking his third appearance as a fighter in the series. Like in Super Smash Bros. Brawl, Sonic must first be unlocked in order to play as him. There are three methods to unlock Sonic:
- Play VS. matches, Mob Smash, Spirit Board or World of Light. He is the 17th character to be unlocked in order.
- Clear Classic Mode as Mario.
- Have Sonic join the player's party in World of Light.
In addition to Sonic's inclusion as a fighter, Green Hill Zone from Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Windy Hill Zone from Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U make a return. Shadow the Hedgehog returns as an Assist Trophy, slowing players down using Chaos Control with the green Chaos Emerald. Knuckles the Echidna also makes an appearance as an Assist Trophy and will attack opponents by punching them, using the Homing Attack, or dig underground and use a powerful uppercut when summoned. Costumes of Knuckles and Miles "Tails" Prower make a return from the previous installments for Mii Fighters to wear. Akira Yuki also appears as an Assist Trophy retaining his polygonal form from Virtua Fighter. Both his and Jacky's Mii costumes would later return as DLC.
Classic Mode in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has each fighter go through their own predetermined set of opponents and stages, sometimes with special rules or conditions put in place. Sonic's route is named "At the Speed of Sound", and all of his opponents are a mix between the game's fastest characters and references to other Sonic games in chronological order.
|1||Fox||Green Hill Zone||"Green Hill Zone"||This round references the classic Sonic titles on the Sega Mega Drive. Fox is a representation of Tails.|
|2||Captain Falcon||Figure-8 Circuit||"Super Sonic Racing"||This round references the many racing games in the Sonic franchise.|
|3||Giant Metal Sonic||Fourside (Ω form)||"Open Your Heart"||This round either references the final battle against Metal Sonic in Sonic the Hedgehog CD or the final battle against Perfect Chaos in Sonic Adventure.|
|4||Kirby (x3)||Halberd||"Sonic Heroes"||This round references Sonic Heroes. Each Kirby is colored after the three character types (blue for Speed Type, yellow for Fly Type, and red for Power Type). The round takes place on Halberd, which is a reference to Egg Fleet and Final Fortress, the last two stages of Sonic Heroes.|
|5||Sheik||Mushroomy Kingdom||"Seven Rings In Hand"||This round is in reference to Sonic and the Secret Rings, as the Mushroomy Kingdom is similar in appearance to some of the stages from the game.|
|6||Giant Incineroar||Windy Hill Zone||"Wonder World"||This round is a reference to Sonic Lost World. Giant Incineroar represents the final battle against Zavok in the game.|
|Final||Master Hand (with Crazy Hand on Intensity 7.0 or higher)||Final Destination||"Master Hand" ("Master Hand / Crazy Hand" on Intensity 7.0 or higher)||N/A|
The player will unlock the Sonic Fighter Spirit after beating Classic Mode with Sonic. The player can also unlock Bayonetta if they have not already. During the credits sequence, "Live and Learn" will play.
Sonic the Hedgehog Spirits
Various other Sonic characters also make an appearance in the form of Spirits. Spirits are power up characters that can give fighters a boost in battle. They have replaced Trophies in this installment of the Super Smash Bros. series. They are either a Primary Spirit or a Support Spirit, can be one of five types, (Grab, Shield, Attack, Balanced or Neutral) and can come in one of four classes. In order from weakest to strongest class: Novice (★), Advanced (★★), Ace (★★★), and Legend (★★★★). All currently known Sonic Spirits include:
|776||Grab||Legend||3||Increased Electric Attack||Roy,
||Green Hill Zone||Hazard: Bob-omb Festival||Yes|
|778||Grab||Legend||3||Increased Speed||Gold Sonic||
||Windy Hill Zone||Sudden Final Smash||No|
|780||Shield||Advanced||1||Increased Speed||Metal Sonic||
||Windy Hill Zone||None||No|
|781||Grab||Ace||2||Increased Fist Attack||None (unlocked by combining the cores of Gordo, Muddy Mole and a Grab type)||Yes|
|782||Grab||Novice||3||None||Sonic, Pichu, and King K. Rool||The enemy occasionally turns invisible||Windy Hill Zone||None||No|
|783||Neutral||Novice||2||Increased Weight||Giant Incineroar||
||Windy Hill Zone||None||No|
|785||Grab||Advanced||1||Increased Water Attack||Metal Inkling||
||Fourside (Battlefield form)||None||No|
|786||Shield||Novice||2||Can Be Enhanced at Lv.99||Squirtle (x4)||
||Windy Hill Zone||None||Yes|
|787||Shield||Ace||2||Fast Final Smash Meter||None (enhanced Chao spirit)||No|
|788||Attack||Ace||2||Can Be Enhanced at Lv.99||Sonic||
||New Pork City (Battlefield form)||
|789||Attack||Legend||2||Increased Undamaged Attack & speed||None (enhanced Shadow the Hedgehog spirit)||No|
||Green Hill Zone (Battlefield form)||None||No|
||Big Blue||Hazard: Screen Flip||No|
|777||Neutral||Ace||Increased Up Special||Fox||
||Windy Hill Zone||
|779||Attack||Ace||Increased Shield Damage||Inkling||
||Windy Hill Zone||Item: Hammer|
|790||Grab||Advanced||Increased Air Attack||Fox||
|791||Grab||Advanced||Increased Jump Height||Isabelle, Tiny Squirtle||
||Green Hill Zone||None|
|793||Shield||Advanced||Mouthful of Curry||Robin||
||Green Hill Zone (Battlefield form)||Hazard: Lava Floor|
|794||Grab||Advanced||Increased Move Speed||None (unlocked by combining the cores of Pidgey and Akari Hayami)|
|795||Attack||Advanced||Slightly increases the power of grabbing and throwing attacks.||Sonic||
||Green Hill Zone||Item Battle|
|796||Attack||Advanced||Increased Physical Attack||Wolf||
World of Light
In the Adventure Mode "World of Light", Sonic and other fighters prepare to battle against a godlike being named Galeem and his army of Master Hands. Galeem unleashes a devastating array of bright yellow lasers which instantly captures anything they come into contact with. The attack puts the fighters into panic, as they all try to either fight back or run away. Sonic uses his speed to outrun the lasers and attempts to save Pikachu in the process. However, Pikachu is captured with Sonic being captured shortly after. Galeem manages to capture all of the fighters aside from Kirby, who escapes on his Warp Star. After this, Galeem envelops the entire galaxy in a burst of light. Kirby eventually crash-lands in the eponymous World of Light and sets out to free the captured fighters who are strewn throughout the world.
Eventually, the freed fighters manage destroy the shield protecting Galeem and beat him in a battle. With the being's power weakened, however, the world is soon taken over by its arch-nemesis, Dharkon, who envelops the world in darkness, and takes control of the remaining fighters and Spirits. After Dharkon's defeat Galeem returns to wage war. Soon, the fighters manage to defeat both Galeen and Dharkon once and for all.
The Adventure Mode has a world map that the character the player has chosen moves around in when not in battle. The player is trying to get to the center of the map, where Galeem is. Throughout the Adventure Mode, the player will find several obstacles.
The most common blockade found are Spirits. To progress, the player will need to fight them. The Spirits take the form of fighters that share common traits with them. After fighting them, the player will free the Spirit and they will be able to use it.
Another common blockade are possessed fighters. Every fighter that was devoured by light was possessed and turned evil. These possessed fighters are usually much more powerful than Spirits. After beating a possessed fighter, the player will be able to play as that fighter. Also, if the player beats a fighter that they have not unlocked in regular gameplay, they will also unlock it there as well. Sonic himself can be found in the Dark Realm, contained in the Legend of Zelda-themed Sacred Land area.
Following the tradition of earlier Super Smash Bros, Super Smash Bros. Ultimate has a number of music tracks from the Sonic series included in it. There are twenty in total, which can be played on both Green Hill Zone and Windy Hill Zone. By using the "My Music" feature, the player can adjust how often they want each available song to play on each stage. All Sonic songs that were in previous games return, with the sole exception of "Right There, Ride On from Sonic Rush, while three new tracks from Sonic Mania and Sonic Forces were added. Most of the songs are available from the start, while the rest must be unlocked:
- As part of the on Twitter, with six days left before the game's release, the official Japanese Sega Twitter posted a Tweet representing Sonic's inclusion in the game.
- This is the first Super Smash Bros. game to not feature Trophies since the original Super Smash Bros.
- With Sonic's inclusion in this game, he has made the most Super Smash Bros. appearances out of any playable third-party character in the series, having appeared in all games since his debut in Super Smash Bros. Brawl.
- Sonic and Knuckles were both featured on the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate blog on 2 July 2018.
- Sonic's default head icon in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate bears a striking resemblance to several logos and icons in the Sonic series, namely the logo for Sonic Team.
- Unlike other installments in the Super Smash Bros. series, Sonic takes a bit of damage if he falls in any body of water, which is a nod to his inability to swim.
- This is the first Super Smash Bros. game in which more then one character from the Sonic the Hedgehog series appear as an Assist Trophy.
- Knuckles will not show up as an Assist Trophy when Green Hill Zone is chosen as a stage. This is likely due to the fact that he is a background character in the stage as well.
- This is the first Super Smash Bros. title in which there are three playable characters that are representatives from Sega: Sonic, Bayonetta and Joker.
- One of Incineroar's alternate costumes resembles Big the Cat.
- The Spirit cores used to unlock the Sonic the Hedgehog series Spirits all represent the likeness of the characters they summon:
- The Knuckles Spirit requires the cores of Gordo and Muddy Mole; Gordo represents Knuckles' spiked gloves and Muddy Mole represents Knuckles' digging ability.
- The Jet the Hawk Spirit requires the cores of Pidgey and Akari Hayami; Pidgey is an allusion to Jet being a type of bird and Akari represents Jet's proficiency in riding Extreme Gear.
- The Sonic the Werehog Spirit requires the cores of Togedemaru and Werewolf. Werewolf is obviously an allusion to how the Werehog was a more beastly form that Sonic turned into during the nighttime. Togedemaru, while less immediately obvious, is considered an "Electric Hedgehog" referencing Sonic's base form and species.
- Jun Senoue was requested by Nintendo to pick a song to arrange for the game. As he was allowed to pick any song he wanted, he picked a Mega Man track, specifically a medley of music from Mega Man 4 in the style of a typical Sonic song. He was inspired to do so after seeing graphic novels from Sonic & Mega Man: Worlds Collide and Worlds Unite, specifically Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Collide: The Complete Epic and Sonic the Hedgehog/Mega Man: Worlds Unite Vol. 1: Deadly Fusion.
- As is the case with Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, Sonic's snoring and surfacing voice clips are taken directly from Super Smash Bros. Brawl, in which he was voiced by Jason Griffith, despite being voiced by Roger Craig Smith in this game.
- PAC-MAN's standard Spirit is his artwork for Sonic Dash.
- Unlike in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS and Wii U, while Sonic's victory jingle was taken from Sonic the Hedgehog (2006), entitled "Mission Clear", his victory jingle was shortened in the final build instead of the full version in the E3 build.
- This makes it one of three series with a victory jingle that was ripped straight from another game, the others being Persona 5 and Minecraft.
- This game is the last game to feature Travis Willingham as the voice of Knuckles.
- This is the last game where Jonatán López voices Sonic in Spanish before he passed away in 2020.
- Takeshi Kusao, the former Japanese voice of Sonic, voices Solo in this game, who is an alternate costume for the Hero.
- Upon the games original version, the Sonic spirits were numbered in the order they are listed on the Sonic Channel’s bio page (barring the upgrades Chao and Shadow), with Infinite falling after. After the 1.1.0 update, they were re-ordered based on debut (still barring the upgraded Spirits).
- The opening of World of Light marked the first time Sonic appeared in an animated CGI. He would later appear in Sephiroth's trailer as well.
- In celebration of the Sonic series' 30th anniversary, a Spirit event was held dedicated to Sonic spirits.
- In the reveal trailer for DLC fighter Steve from Minecraft, Sonic uses his forward smash on Mario, which launches him into a Minecraft cave (transitioning into a cinematic), leading to many jokes and memes about Sonic being able to "punch/yeet people into Minecraft".
- The official Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account referenced this meme when Sonic content was announced to appear in Minecraft, stating "It's Sonic's turn to be yeeted to Minecraft."
- D'Anastasio, Cecilia (12 June 2018). Everything We Know About Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. Kotaku. Retrieved on 12 June 2018.
- Super Smash Bros. announced for Nintendo Switch (8 March 2018). Archived from the original on 1 May 2018. Retrieved on 1 May 2018.
- McWhertor, Michael (8 March 2018). Super Smash Bros. is coming to Nintendo Switch. Archived from the original on 9 March 2018. Retrieved on 8 March 2018.
- The Super Smash Bros. series heads to Nintendo Switch in 2018. Nintendo.com (8 March 2018). Archived from the original on 9 March 2018 l. Retrieved on 8 March 2018.
- Webster, Andrew (12 June 2018). Why Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was such a daunting game for its creators to build. The Verge. Retrieved on 12 June 2018.
- Nintendo Direct: E3 2018. YouTube. Nintendo (12 June 2018). Retrieved on 13 June 2018.
- Sonic Team sound director on why he chose Mega Man 4 as his contribution to Smash Bros. Ultimate (20 January 2019). Retrieved on 20 January 2019.